DANNY AND GALLANT

Gallant: Russell Wilson doesn’t hold grudges, but he could have one with Packers DC Mike Pettine

Jan 10, 2020, 1:48 AM | Updated: 2:09 am
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is 3-0 against defenses coached by Mike Pettine. (Getty)
(Getty)

I can be a petty human being. When someone says something bad about me, I keep the receipts. And when someone wrongs me, I might forgive, but I never forget.

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Russell Wilson is a better man than me in that regard. Take the way he responded to some subtle shots that Aaron Rodgers took at him back in 2015. Or the way he’s brushed off the many barbs – both off and on the record – that Richard Sherman has fired his way after leaving the Seahawks. Somehow, someway, he keeps it classy.

Still, I wonder – Russ might come off like a robot publicly, but he’s a human being. There’s got to be a part of him that wants to prove the Aaron Rodgers and Richard Shermans of the world wrong and shut them up… right?

On Sunday, Wilson’s Seahawks will take on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs. I know he’s not the type to look for bulletin board material, but on the off-chance he’s looking for some of that negative NOS, I’ve got him covered.

Enter Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

In February of 2014, Mike Pettine was less than a month into his first year as head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland held the fourth pick of the 2014 NFL Draft and were expected to take a quarterback. At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Pettine was asked what he was looking for in a championship quarterback. Pettine brought up Wilson, who at the time was the reigning champion signal caller. But he wasn’t particularly complimentary.

For what it’s worth, that Seahawks’ defense was a historic unit, but Wilson still deserved to be in the top 10 quarterback conversation. After all, he had the NFL’s sixth-best QBR (69.7) and 10th-best passer rating (95).

A year later, Pettine’s 3-10 Browns traveled to Seattle to play Wilson’s 8-5 Seahawks. Before the game, a reporter followed up on the Browns head coach’s combine comments. Pettine still didn’t think Wilson was one of the game’s best quarterbacks.

Later that week, Pettine tried to backtrack his comments in an interview with Ross Tucker and Booger McFarland on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

“There aren’t too many quarterbacks I have more respect for than Russell Wilson,” Pettine said. “All the guy does is go out and do everything right and win football games. To sit and take one fragment of what I said … It’s not my job to rank quarterbacks. I know the bottom line for those guys is, and he said it himself, is to win football games and he’s one of the best at that.”

Days later, the Seahawks beat Pettine’s Browns 30-13. Wilson finished that 2015 season with 34 touchdown passes to eight interceptions, the league’s best passer rating (110) and fourth-best QBR (68.6).

Mike Pettine, meanwhile, was fired. His dismissal may have had something to do with another quarterback evaluation of his.

We – coaches, players and the media alike – have all been wrong in the past when it comes to player evaluations, so it stands to reason that Pettine may have changed his tune on Wilson in the years since. After all, he did serve as a consultant for the Seahawks in 2017. And at his press conference Thursday to preview the Packers’ playoff matchup with Seattle, Pettine credited Russ for the Seahawks’ big play offense. He also dismissed the idea that Wilson’s record in his past three games in Green Bay (0-3 with 604 passing yards, a 57.3 completion percentage and three touchdowns to six interceptions) mean anything before Sunday’s showdown.

Wilson may struggle in Green Bay, but he hasn’t had any problems against Mike Pettine’s defenses. Wilson is 3-0 against Pettine, beating him as Jets defensive coordinator in 2012 (28-7), Cleveland’s head coach (30-13) and Packers DC last year (27-24). In those games, he’s completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 662 yards, seven TDs and no INTs.

Russell Wilson doesn’t need any extra motivation to take down Mike Pettine and company. After all, he’s playing for a chance to take the Seahawks to the NFC Championship.

But if, like me, deep down he’s one for Pringles (the GOAT chip) on his shoulder? ‘Sup.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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